Olney Residents Asked to Reduce Water Usage (Photo)
Late this afternoon (March 7), WSSC located the break in a force main that caused sewage to flow into Reddy Branch Creek in the Olney area. More excavation is still necessary and it is unclear as to how long it will take to complete the repair. Once the break is repaired, the Reddy Branch Creek Wastewater Pumping Station will be put back into operation, which should end the overflow.
Company officials are now asking Olney customers to reduce their water usage, if possible, to help lessen the flow entering the creek.
According to a WSSC press release: The Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) was discovered the morning of March 5 and the majority of the current overflow is coming from manholes near the Reddy Branch Wastewater Pumping Station at 2611 Brighton Dam Road in the Brookeville/Olney area.
The pumping station was shut down to relieve pressure on the sewer main and facilitate repair of the break, officials said. WSSC crews are hauling overflow from the pumping station in order to help reduce the flow into the waterway.
As of the morning of March 7, WSSC workers have dug 18 feet down to the buried pipe. Crews are expected to excavate the entire length of the pipe until the broken section is located. The pipe is located near several other underground utility lines which makes the effort more difficult, officials said.
WSSC officials are stressing that the drinking water is safe.
According to WSSC, it is estimated that approximately 1.5 million gallons of wastewater has flowed into Reddy Branch Creek. The creek feeds into the Hawlings River, which feeds into the Patuxent River upstream from the WSSC Rocky Gorge reservoir. However, due to the location, the amount of spillage and the amount of water in the reservoir (approximately 5 billion gallons), the spill will be diluted long before it reaches the water intakes of the Patuxent Water Filtration Plant, according to WSSC.
Signs warning citizens to avoid the overflow areas have been posted and WSSC crews will clean up any debris. The Maryland Department of the Environment and the Montgomery County Department of the Environmental Protection have been notified of the situation.
Customers with questions should call the WSSC Emergency Customer Call Center at 301.206.4002.
For more info: WSSC website.